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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 23, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Control of ball moss in oak trees
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in San Marcos, Texas and I have a two acre lot with lots of oak trees. Most of these trees have so much ballmoss attached to them that the leaves and branches are not visible anymore. Is there anything I can do about this without damaging the trees? Any preventing measures that I can take to prevent the propagation of the ballmoss to the few healthy trees left?

ANSWER:

Ball moss Tillandsia recurvata (small ballmoss) is an interesting plant, but it can also be a pest. The good news is that it is not parasitic, however it can cause harm to the host tree by shading buds and young leaves. Control can involve physical removal (carefully), spraying with Kocide, or spraying with baking soda. See Texas Cooperative Extension Horticulture for details. Removing damaged limbs, thus eliminating ball moss plants that serve as a seed source, can limit the spread of new plants to uninfected trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

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